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RNLI Amble launch both lifeboats to assist sailing ship in difficulty

Lifeboats News Release

On Wednesday 19th April at 7.04 pm, Volunteers from RNLI Amble launched both the all-weather lifeboat the Elizabeth and Leonard and the inshore lifeboat the Mildred Holcroft to assist sailing ship James Cook that had reported to HM Coastguard as having a fouled propeller.

ILB on stern of James Cook

RNLI/Alan Stewart

The Skipper of the 21 metre 54 tonne steel-hulled ketch the James Cook reported that the vessel had got into difficulty approximately 5 miles south east of Amble harbour. Her propeller had become fouled in possibly a string of lobster traps. The vessel had 14 persons on board which included adults and young people, all of which were safe and well.

RNLI Amble volunteers on board the new Shannon class lifeboat the Elizabeth and Leonard arrived very quickly on scene and assessed the situation. They were quickly backed up by the inshore lifeboat that could have a closer inspection of the James Cook’s propeller. A rope was tightly wound around the propeller, much of which was cleared by the volunteers but it was believed that the tail end of the rope was still around the shaft of the propeller which the volunteers were unable to clear.

It was decided that the all-weather lifeboat would tow the James Cook back to the safety of Amble harbour where any necessary repairs could be carried out. On arrival at Amble harbour we assisted by our colleagues and volunteers from the Coastguard.

The James Cook is owned by the Ocean Youth Trust North, which is a charity that specialises in the development of young people and adults through the medium of sailing.

For more information, please contact Amble lifeboat station Press Officer Alan Stewart on 07919 924704 or email

James Cook under tow by Shannon Class lifeboat

RNLI/Alan Stewart

James Cook under tow to Amble Harbour

RNLI/Alan Stewart

Shannon lifeboat Elizabeth and Leonard heading home to Amble

RNLI/Alan Stewart

After a long tow entering Amble harbour

RNLI/Alan Stewart

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland